What is a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration?
Posted on 29th November 2019 at 18:27
A Grant of Probate is a legal document that gives the Executor/s the authority to deal with the deceased’s property.
What are Letters of Administration?
If someone dies without a Will, they are said to be intestate. The intestacy rules will say who can apply to administer the estate and they can apply for Letters of Administration which is like a Grant of Probate but for an intestate estate.
What is Probate?
The word Probate is often used to mean the process of administering a deceased’s estate. This involves ascertaining the assets and liabilities in the estate and distributing them in accordance with the Will or under the Laws of Intestacy after paying any taxes and debts.
What is the difference between an Executor and an Administrator?
An Executor is named in the deceased’s will and an Administrator applies to administer the deceased’s estate if there is no will. The term Personal Representatives includes both Executors and Administrators.
How do I get Probate?
The Executors or Administrators (Personal Representatives) will need to make an application to the Probate Court.
The forms required will depend on the value and nature of the estate and whether or not Inheritance Tax is payable. It is important the correct claims are made to ensure Inheritance Tax is not overpaid. Everyone is entitled to pass down £325,000 free of Inheritance Tax (the Nil Rate Band) unless they have made gifts in the seven years prior to their death which may eat into this. The Personal Representatives may also need to claim the following:
Transferable Nil Rate Band
The unused Nil Rate band from their late spouse/civil partner’s estate.
Residence Nil Rate Band
The Residence Nil Rate Band is currently £150,000 and will rise to £175,000 in April 2020 and can be claimed in addition to the Nil Rate Band of £325,000 and Transferable Nil Rate Band. Certain conditions need to be met. Your residence must pass to direct descendants although if you have downsized, sold or given away your residence your estate may still qualify.
Transferable Residence Nil Rate Band
Any unused Residence Nil Rate band can be transferred between spouses or civil partners. This means that if a spouse died and they didn’t use all of their Residence Nil Rate band, then the remaining allowance can be claimed on the death of their surviving spouse or civil partner.
This applies even where the first spouse or civil partner died before 6 April 2017 as the spouse or civil partner who died first did not have the opportunity to use the Residence Nil Rate band.
How Does the Probate Process Work?
Every estate is different. The exact probate process can vary depending on the instructions left in the Will and the assets, creditors, and beneficiaries the estate has.
The basic process is:
1. Gather the full details of the assets and debts.
2. Apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
3. Complete an inheritance tax return and pay any tax due.
4. You receive a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration.
5. Repay any of the deceased’s outstanding debts.
6. Distribute the rest of the estate according to the instructions left in the Will.
7. This may involve collecting in or transferring assets to beneficiaries. It may involve selling a property or transferring ISA allowance to spouses etc.
Probate can be complicated if there are any disputes between the Executor/Administrator, beneficiaries, creditors or HMRC and additional guidance may be needed in dealing with the following:
1. Placing Trustee Act Notices. This is an advertisement placed in the London Gazette and a local paper to inform creditors that the estate is soon going to be distributed. This gives the deceased’s creditors an opportunity to claim back money or property that they are owed before the estate is distributed.
2. You may also need to complete tax returns for the deceased up to the date of death and during the administration period and account to HMRC for any income tax or capital gains tax due.
3. Agreeing valuations of property or business assets with HMRC and liaising with the District Valuer.
4. Preparing accounts to account to the beneficiaries under the Will or those inheriting on intestacy for all the estate assets, debts and expenses and calculating their entitlements.
5. Tracing and identify beneficiaries.
6. Disputes between executors or beneficiaries.
7. Trusts in wills.
Probate Lawyers Leeds & Harrogate
Probate can be complicated if there are any disputes between the Executor/Administrator, beneficiaries, creditors or HMRC and additional guidance may be needed. Contact us today using our online form below to speak to one of our team of experienced probate solicitors can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf.
Tagged as: Wills, Probates & Trusts
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